So, I've been hearing about these new ads the Mormon church is running. The idea is to profile "normal" looking people and then right at the end say "oh, and I'm Mormon." Apparently the church thought this was necessary because many Americans have a low opinion of the church. Mormon leadership chalks this up to the prevalence of TV programming and news coverage that focuses on polygamist sects.
The thing is, I think most Americans get that the polygamist groups are now officially not recognized by the church. But that's totally beside the point. First, the modern-day polygamist sects are a reminder that back in the day when they could get away with it, they were all polygamists. Women were taught to put up with it and shut the fuck up if they wished to enjoy eternal bliss in the afterlife. It was only when pressure from the larger culture and the government became too strong that the church received a new "inspiration from God" saying that polygamy wasn't cool anymore. And the same is true with the role of Blacks in the church.
In fact, the Mormon church provides a great object lesson in privilege. It was all white males who founded and led the church, so of course all their teachings and practices benefited white males. Over the years they've been forced to make concessions to various non-male non-white groups, but you don't get a cookie for doing the right thing only after you've been forced to do it. So no matter how hard the church tries to distance themselves from these groups, the polygamist sects serve as a living reminder of church history.
And of course, the other thing that leaves so many Americans with a low opinion of the Mormon church is their role in buying ultra-conservative and anti-gay election results. Hatefulness backed by the economic resources to enable you to force your beliefs on everyone else is a lethal combination. And it tends to make people despise you, not respect you. So all of this makes me laugh a cynical, bitter laugh when I see these ads. If they really wanted to be honest they should say "My name is _________ and I'm a normal person just like you, only I'm Mormon so I hate The Gay and want to force everyone to live my lifestyle." At least it would be honest.